Lot 504: William Woodward (American/New Orleans)

Neal Auction Company

December 3, 2016
New Orleans, LA, US

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Description: William Woodward (American/New Orleans, 1859-1939), "On Chartres Street (Rue de Chartres) - Horse and Wagon Days - In 1905", 1905, Raffaelli oil crayon on board, signed, dated and inscribed "Rue Chartres, N.O." lower right, sight 21 1/4 in. x 27 in., framed. Provenance: By descent in the family of the artist. Ill.: Woodward, William. French Quarter Etchings of Old New Orleans. New Orleans: Franklin Printing Company, 1938, pl. 3. Note: Through his paintings of New Orleans, William Woodward was intent on capturing the French Quarter in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He depicted street scenes of iconic structures that still exist today, such as the St. Louis Cathedral, the French Market, and the Arsenal, as well as private homes and commercial structures, some of which were later lost. Woodward’s intent – to preserve a moment in time of a city that constantly changed and morphed – yielded important and revered works of art such as the one offered here. The current lot depicts 522 and 524 Chartres Street in 1905, the location of the Ibos Brothers Tinsmith and Plumbing Company and a residence. Based on city directory records, Bertrand Firmin Ibos and Joseph Baptiste Ibos owned and operated the Ibos Brothers company on Chartres Street until 1923. In the scene, one can see a horse-drawn cart traveling down Chartres with an “Ibos Bros. – Tin Smiths – 524 Chartres Street” sign on the side while two children stand in the archway of the building. The attention to detail and sensitive use of color attest to Woodward’s skill as an artist and his goal of architectural preservation through his paintings. Later in Woodward’s life, he began a group of etchings based on his sketches and paintings; fifty-four of them form a book printed in 1938, French Quarter Etchings of Old New Orleans. While working on that group of etchings, Woodward meticulously noted the state of the buildings depicted, many of which had changed greatly in the 40 years since he painted them. Of the Ibos Brothers building, he wrote, “This shop and residence at 524 Chartres Street no longer exists. It was probably built in the late 1790s as its site was directly in the path of the great fires of 1788 and 1794 which deprived New Orleans of 1068 houses of the older type of Creole construction.” These two small buildings, sadly now the site of a parking lot, are forever commemorated due to Woodward’s superb efforts. Ref.: Woodward, William. French Quarter Etchings of Old New Orleans. New Orleans: Franklin Printing Company, 1938, pl. 3; Hinckley, Robert, ed. William Woodward: American Impressionist. New Orleans: MPress, 2009.
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